Nelson backed Shields into the ropes and had some success in the seventh round, only to have Shields come back and connect with power punches toward the end of that two-minute period.
Nelson, of Ashburn, Virginia, took the fight to Shields at the outset, but as the bout wore on the young champion proved to be the more skilled boxer, able to avoid Nelson's big hooks and using her jab to keep her foe at bay.
Shields' victory was televised on Showtime, with the MI fighter becoming the first woman to headline a fight card on premium cable, having done so in March and again in August 2017.
"I landed every shot that I thought possible to land".
Shields started the fourth round strong by letting her hands go and landing combinations. "She was just tough". A lot of times, when I did see shots open and I went for them, I got head-butted. "But she was definitely tough and fought a good fight".
After beating Nelson, Shields - who began training November 10 - told Showtime she was going to celebrate by eating the meals she had to skip at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. She was supposed to have fought today, on the undercard. "She's more anxious about me than I am her", Shields said after her win.
However, Nelson (17-0-3, 2 KOs) took an unusual route to this fight.
"I'm going to kick Hammer's ass". On the horizon is a matchup at middleweight with rival Christina Hammer who was in attendance ringside. "I can't wait to fight her and show her that she isn't [better than me]". Shields, meanwhile, claimed boxing gold at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in London and Rio.
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